Sheikh Hasina’s Homecoming Was the Turning Point for Emerging Bangladesh

Hiren Pandit : 17th May 2023 is the 43rdHomecoming Day of Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. On this day in 1981, Sheikh Hasina returned home from India after nearly six years in exile following the brutal assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on August 15, 1975.Sheikh Hasina and her sister Sheikh Rehana were spared as they were in Germany at the time.

A legacy of Bangabandhu’s blood can save the Awami League after the brutal assassination of Bangabandhu, it became essential to keep the Awami League united. It was necessary for the survival of the Awami League. Everyone knew that Sheikh Hasina did politics of Bangladesh Chhatra League, BCL in her student life. She was the VP of Eden College. She was on the streets during the six-point movement. Therefore, in the special meeting of the Awami League held in February 1981, Sheikh Hasina, who was living in exile in Delhi, the capital of India, was made the president of the party.Sheikh Hasina has taken the steering of the Awami League president as a symbol of unity in the worst of times. She has come a long way in the struggle for democracy. She has repeatedly come back from the brink of death. She brought Awami League to power as a popular party after 21 years in 1996 and has been working relentlessly to institutionalize democracy in Bangladesh. The impossible task that Sheikh Hasina made possible by forming the government in 1996 was to bring the killers of her family to justice and later in 2010 to bring the war criminals to justice. The opportunity came to carry forward the ideology of the Bengali nation.

Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina started working as a pioneer for the overall welfare, development, and emancipation of the people of Bangladesh. She proved that she has no alternative to developing democracy in Bangladesh. Sheikh Hasina’s honesty, devotion, dedication, rational mentality, strong morale, wisdom, and extraordinary leadership have established Bangladesh at a different altitude in the world arena and she is known as a world-renowned leader. The Awami League has always played and continues to play a politically vocal, defensive role against all forms of exploitation, deprivation, injustice, and oppression. It works for the people’s economic, social, political, and cultural emancipation since its foundation. People’s fortunes improve when this party is in power. The 74-year history of this party from its foundation bears witness to that truth.

Now the Awami League has been in power for almost 15 years under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and she has been working dedicated to the welfare of the people.The world was astonished at Sheikh Hasina’s indomitable strength, courage, morale, and strong leadership. Bangladesh will become the 29th largest economy in the world by 2030. Bangladesh emerged in the world as a ‘middle-income country’ in 2021 and 2041 as a ‘developed country’. The big proof that Bangladesh is moving forward is that the per capita income of the people of the country has increased over the last few years. The current per capita income is 2804 USD. Today, Bangladesh is one of the top few countries in the world in terms of economic progress.

Education, communication infrastructure, gas, electricity, women’s education, 100% increase in salaries and allowances of employees, health care, distribution of free books, self-sufficiency in food production, socially disadvantaged people, helpless, elderly, widows, persons with disabilities, deserted women, autism, the government led by the Prime Minister have played a significant and major role for the development of Bangladesh. Assisting with dignity as a national hero to the freedom fighters, shelter project, one house one farm project, women empowerment and overall development of various sectors is the sole contribution of her government. The role of electricity in the development of a country is indispensable. Persistent power shortages have slowed the wheel of the country’s rapid development. In other words, there is a long-standing power problem in the country, which the previous governments could not solve – the Awami League government has produced electricity at the expense of the people. This production has not only kept the household in operation but also other means of electricity, which has turned the wheel of the country’s economy.

The main source of our revenue, especially foreign exchange earnings, is the export of readymade garments and manpower. Although started in private ownership, these two sectors have gained considerable momentum due to the interest of the government. As a result, the driving force of the country’s economy has gained momentum. At the same time, the unemployment problem of the country has been solved a lot. Some products can be exported, which cannot be exported by 100% individual initiative. In this case, the activities of the government are obvious. The government and the owners still have a long way to go to keep the garment manufacturing environment acceptable to foreign buyers.

When the World Bank canceled the allocation from the Padma Bridge, the Awami League government took it as a challenge. The government took the initiative to build the bridge with its fund. The existence of the bridge is now important to all of us. Over the past few years, the Awami League government has been busy building infrastructure, flyovers and underpasses. Long-cherished metro rails started last year.

When the crisis intensifies in Bangladesh, when the cloud of fear and uncertainty accumulates, a person removes the cloud of fear with indomitable determination and hard devotion. Whenever it seems that everything is coming to an end, we close our eyes for fear of facing a bad time, only then a savior skillfully removes the bad nightmare. Her identity is greater than that of a Prime Minister or a political leader. She is a fighter, a guardian, a crisis manager. She has been tackling COVID-19 Pandemic with courage, still, now it is the best example in the world and world leaders lauded her initiative to manage the global crisis.

May 17 will mark four decades since Sheikh Hasina returned home. In these four decades, she has fought for democracy, for human rights, for rice, for economic self-sufficiency. The course of the struggle was hostile and turbulent. Sheikh Hasina, who miraculously survived the grenade attack but remained steadfast in her demand for human rights. As long as the country’s steering is in the hands of Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh will not lose its way.

Among all prevailing policies, politics is considered the best policy. Because politics revolves around the public good and the overall significance above individual interests. The practice of real politics is to voluntarily engage oneself in political activities for the benefit of the people without remuneration. The main goal of politics is public welfare. This applies to everyone, especially the grassroots parties like Awami League. We have not yet reached our desired goal. Poverty and unemployment are major problems. Although poverty has been reduced, it has not been completely eradicated. Unemployment is increasing. Income inequality is also increasing. Corruption is also a major obstacle. Highlighting these problems, Bangladesh should move towards the desired goal. That is why visionary leadership is needed. Public welfare should be the aim of every political party. If this is done, it will be possible to establish a developed and prosperous Bangladesh.

Bangladesh has achieved incredible success in various fields. Sheikh Hasina is now a name admired by world leaders. Sheikh Hasina always said that she sacrificed her life for the welfare of the people of Bangladesh. She mentioned, “My father has given independence to the people of this country and his aim is to protect that freedom and move forward with everyone.” We are working towards building a developed, prosperous country. We hope we can reach that goal. We are ready to sacrifice ourselves for the people of Bengal as Bangabandhu gave his life to the people of Bengal. Sheikh Hasina said in an emotional voice, I have lost everyone including my parents. I was prevented from entering the country, yet I managed to enter the country. My father Bangabandhu has fought and struggled to free the people of the country from hunger and poverty. We are working tirelessly to establish his ideals and goals.

We have to work for export diversifications and reduce expenditure on import-export needs to be reduced by developing transport, ports, ICT infrastructure. With this, the power and energy capacity have to be further increased and the price has to be kept at a tolerable level. We need to establish order in the entire financial sector including banking and reduce defaulted loans.Skilled human resources are crucial in overcoming the challenges of developing countries. To this end, the government has taken various steps to develop the young society with general education as well as technical and technological knowledge. Due to the initiative of the government, a huge amount of foreign exchange is being earned through outsourcing, which is very promising. As a result, even if there is a temporary problem in the export of conventional goods in the future, the effect of large losses in the flow of foreign currency can be handled. Since Bangladesh is currently in a very advantageous position in the ‘Demographic Dividend’, it is very easy to build skilled human resources by utilizing this advantage.

From 2001 to 2008, there was a big conspiracy to wipe out the Awami League by using state power in the field of politics. Politics then becomes really complicated for politicians. However, after the 2008 elections, there is a possibility that the politics of Bangladesh will go back to the previous place. The government formed under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina has developed the socio-economic and political development of the country through the formulation of the Charter of Change and Vision 2021.

Equal participation of men and women, ensuring access to technology for all irrespective of rich and poor, and reducing distance in access to urban and rural services were all the main objectives and goals of Digital Bangladesh. With inclusive development and technology, now anyone can work freelancing even in the village. All this has been made possible by the progressive technological, inclusive development of People’s Leader Sheikh Hasina’s Digital Bangladesh.

After the successful implementation of the pledge to build a digital Bangladesh, now the new program has come. That is Smart Bangladesh. A cost-effective, sustainable, intelligent, knowledge-based, innovative Smart Bangladesh will be built on these four main foundations of Smart Citizens, Smart Economy, Smart Government and Smart Society by 2041.

Sheikh Hasina will be able to build a developed, prosperous, and peaceful Bengali nation and Bangladesh. She loved the country with more compassion than a child. The unfinished work of the Father of the Nation must be finished. We have to build a secular, democratic, and modern Bangladesh. This is the expectation of the present generation.

Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a researcher

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